© 2018 Rod Lathim. 

STORM READING REUNION

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STORM READING REUNION

“…(the) show projects a heightened, mindset altering universality of theme, which engulfs the audience and demands their involvement; play is likely to leave viewers irrevocably changed. It’s pure theatrical magic.”
Mike Frym – Daily Variety 1993
 
“Damn fine theatre.”
Richard Scaffidi – Dramalogue 1993

The Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation asked me to produce their 10th Anniversary Empowerment Through Medical Rehabilitation Series. Their focus this year is on the transformative power of the arts. In the search for a guest speaker on this topic, I was immediately drawn to the powerful experiences of co-creating, directing and touring the critically acclaimed play STORM READING for Access Theatre.  I suggested we bring the cast and I together for our 30 Year Anniversary. The Foundation was instantly excited and enthusiastic.

 

Neil Marcus, Matthew Ingersoll and Kathryn Voice and I were re-united onstage at the Lobero Theatre on September 21st, 2018. This was the stage where the show premiered in 1988, and ultimately was taped for television by Smith•Hemion Productions in 1996. The play had a profound impact on its audiences across the nation and in Canada and England, as well as on the lives of the company members. It seemed the perfect centerpiece for this wonderful evening.

 

Joining us as our host and moderator was former Access Theatre alum and Advisory Board Member, award-winning actor/director/producer Anthony Edwards (who recently made his Broadway debut in the revival of CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD.) Anthony directed and co-produced with Shawn Hardin, an award-winning documentary film – SPEAKING THROUGH WALLS - on Access Theatre and the tour of STORM READING.  He also cast and directed Neil Marcus in an episode of NBC’s ER.

 

The evening consisted of selected scenes staged live with the cast, scenes from the play from the Lobero taping in 1996, scenes from SPEAKING THROUGH WALLS, and discussion with the company members of their personal experiences and how the show impacted and changed lives as it toured.

 

We also presented a special tribute in memory of Dr. Harris Meisel – the founding medical director of the Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Meisel was a pioneer in utilizing the arts in the rehabilitation process. He was a brilliant physician as well as a renaissance man of the arts. Dr. Meisel and his family were ardent supporters of Access Theatre and STORM READING.

Access Theatre artists, staff, board members, volunteers, donors and audience members converged at the Lobero that memorable night for an unexpected but truly heartwarming reunion. It was also bittersweet as it was the last time we saw our resident composer Mark Henderson. Sadly, he passed just weeks later.

The video of this entire event can be viewed on the Access Theatre Archives site at:

https://atarchives.wordpress.com/storm-reading-30-yr-anniversary/

Also on this Archive page can be found over 20 short videos with company members about their memories of the development and tour of STORM READING.